Refusing to be Supermom

Ugh. I’ve been sick all week. Whatever this bug is, it’s kicked my ass and I will openly admit, the house is upside down, I have a stack of papers to grade several inches thick, and a to-do list that is getting longer rather than shorter. I’m not going to look at it. I’m going to pretend it doesn’t exist.

When I was a kid, I actually ENJOYED getting sick. And lucky for me, I managed to get a stomach virus each and every year without fail. Getting sick equated to getting out of school for a bit. It also meant that my dad would unplug the TV and VCR from his room and move it into mine, which was the greatest thing ever. I grew up in a home without a TV in the living room, and no access to cable television, so the whole TV thing while sick was a huge treat. More often than not, he would climb into the fortress of pillows and blankets I had made, cuddle me up next to him, make sure the puke bucket was within arms reach, and then subject himself to an endless marathon of princess movies. My mom, who was also very doting, stopped short of hugging me though. Dad had an immune system made from steel. My mom….well, she wasn’t quite as fortunate. Being completely honest, I hated how miserable I felt, but the individual attention was well worth the cost.

As an adult, the experience of being sick kinda really sucks. Suddenly, there is definitely no up side, no perks to it. Nobody stays home and nurses you back to health. I’m stuck cleaning my own puke bucket. I can’t convince my husband to cuddle up next to me for my Downton Abbey marathon. Rather, instead, he is attempting to douse me in Lysol and avoids me like the plague. And the allure of making pillow forts, just isn’t there anymore. But in all honesty, I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself when I’m sick. I just don’t want to.

The real kicker to being sick, comes when you hit parenthood. Mom’s should be exempt from getting sick. It oughta be biologically impossible to catch airborne illnesses after entering parenthood, like there should be some type of automatic immunity that takes place or something. If only. Instead, I’ve been dragging to work each day (because I used up all of my sick days on my kids). And at home, my children still need me for a lot of things they can’t yet do for themselves.

There was a time when I would have powered through everything. The dishes would have gotten done, the laundry would be neat and folded, dinner would be on the table. I’d keep pushing on despite how miserable I felt on the inside. But those days are over. One of the very few perks of developing PTSD is that it has forced me to start taking care of me—to make myself a priority and to do so unapologetically. So, I said no more. I handed over the parenting duties to my husband when he first got home so I could get more rest. I’m also lucky to have an amazing mother-in-law who stepped in and kept an eye on the kids. Kuddos to her. I let the laundry pile up, the floors fill up with toys, I ordered pizza instead of making dinner, story time was forgone a few nights in a row. And in the end, it’s all okay.

Honestly, what did it hurt? I have a bit more work to do when I feel better, but it’s easier to play catch up when feeling well than it is to keep everything up when I’m miserable. My house will have been messy for a week or so, but nobody else will ever know about it. The kids got a lot more computer and television time, but only for the time being. They ate a little less healthy for a week, but the fruits, veggies, and home-cooked meals are making a return. The missed story time won’t equate to a lower IQ or poorer reading skills. A one week blip in the calendar won’t be remembered/ noticed/ detrimental in any sort of way in the grand scheme of things. So, if taking it easy for a week while I’m sick isn’t going to really hurt anything, why should I attempt supermom status? What’s the point of making myself even more miserable if there isn’t some big gain from doing so?



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